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| Last Updated:: 24/02/2016

Tadoba tiger travels 140km to reach Nagzira







Nagpur: Even as linear intrusions like roads, railways and power lines pose a big threat to tiger habitats and corridors across the country, a tiger fromTadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur traversed all such obstacles over 140km to reach Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve (NNTR) in Bhandara and Gondia districts.


This is perhaps the second longest migration of a tiger in the last seven years from one protected area to another in Central India region. In 2008, a radio-collared tigress from Kanha in MP had traversed 250km in four months to reach Pench (Maharashtra).


Maharashtra's principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) for wildlife Shree Bhagwan said, "I have been told by scientists of Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, that a tiger cub from Kolsa was photo captured for the first time along with two other siblings in April 2014. In 2015 camera trap exercise, the animal's presence was not recorded in TATR. Then on January 17, 2016, the same tiger has been recorded in New Nagzira."


"The tiger dispersal simply explains why corridors are vital and highlights need for protection. Such data will allow identification of new habitats and help in upgrading protection status of these areas. Such information is important for management and conservation, and strengthen argument for protecting remaining potential tiger habitats," Bhagwan told TOI.


CCF & field director of TATR GP Garad too confirmed that the newly recorded tiger in New Nagzira is from Kolsa. "The cub was captured with the tigress and its other siblings from both Moharli and Kolsa ranges. The tigress and these cubs were active in the area till 2015," said Garad.


The tiger was recorded in New Nagzira on January 17, 2016. NNTR comprising Koka, Navegaon, Nagzira and New Nagzira has presence of eight tigers, but the one recorded in camera traps in New Nagzira was not among them.


"It is a new entrant. We cross-checked with adjoining Bhandara division and later Pench and Kanha reserves, but officials said it was not from their area," said NNTR officials.


Finally, the picture was forwarded to Tadoba field director, who got it scientifically verified from WII researchers Anil Dashahre, Madhura Davate and Nilanjan Chatterjee. WII is already working on 'Long-term comprehensive monitoring of tigers, co-predators, and prey animals' in Tadoba landscape jointly being implemented by state forest department, National Tiger Conservation Authority and WII.


The 640 sqkm Tadoba already has high density of tigers and surplus population disperses outside PAs. However, this is perhaps the first verified record for wildlife officials about Tadoba tigers migrating to Nagzira, says Garad.


WII scientist Bilal Habib said since the tiger was not radio-collared, its exact route could not be known but based on feasibility of corridor it may have gone to Nagzira through Brahmapuri and Paoni forests.


"We suspect the tiger must have dispersed from TATR after the summer of 2015. The movement of tiger confirms functional connectivity across this landscape. This also highlights the need for conserving corridors and having specific management plans," Habib said.


A report 'Assessing tiger distribution and factors influencing tiger occupancy in Tadoba-Nagzira corridor in Central India', submitted to the department in 2012-13 by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) highlights strategic importance about this corridor due to its geographic location. "This area is an important part of global priority landscape for tigers. In Brahmapuri division alone there is presence of 25 tigers," said Prafulla Bhamburkar, Central India in charge of WTI.


"The major factors influencing tiger occupancy in Tadoba-Nagzira corridor is disturbance, proportion of tiger habitat and livestock. With appropriate actions, this corridor has potential to not only facilitate tiger movement but also support resident tiger populations," says Bandu Dhotre, honorary wildlife warden of Chandrapur.





Source: The Times of India